I just finished reading Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday, and his thoughts on snark seemed dead on to me.
“To be called a douche is to be branded with all the characteristics of what society deigns to hate but can’t define. It’s a way to dismiss someone entirely without doing any of the work or providing any of the reasons. It says, You are a fool, and everyone thinks it. It is the ultimate insult, because it deprives the recipient of the credentials of being taken seriously.
Roger Ebert calls snarking “cultural vandalism.” He’s right. Snark makes culture impossible, or rather, it makes the conditions that make culture possible impossible. Earnestness, honesty, vulnerability: These are the targets of snark. “Snark functions as a device to punish human spontaneity, eccentricity, nonconformity, and simple error. Everyone is being snarked into line,” he wrote.
If controversial ideas are the victims of snark, who benefits from it? Who doesn’t mind snark? Who likes it? The answer is obvious: People with nothing to lose. People who need to be talked about, like attention-hungry reality stars. There is nothing that you could say that would hurt the cast of Jersey Shore. They need you to talk about them, to insult them, and to make fun of them is to do that. They have no reputation to ruin, only notoriety to gain.
So the people who thrive under snark are exactly those who we wish would go away, and the people we value most as cultural contributors lurk in the back of the room, hoping not to get noticed and hurt. Everything in-between may as well not exist. Snark encourages the fakeness and stupidity it is supposedly trying to rail against.” – Ryan Holiday
I’ll be a bit more thoughtful and constructive in discussing ideas and people in the future.
After last months’ review-dump, I’ll be sticking to a monthly format, as it’ll be a little clearer what things I’m thinking and reading about. September has been an interesting month for reading, as well as other things (such as ‘getting married’). The month started out with finding the three A.J. Jacobs books for sale at the library, followed by getting a whole bunch of books from the library sooner than I thought. Deadlines always make me read faster… Continue reading »
I’ve rediscovered my love of reading this year, and so I’ve taken a page out of Nick Hornby’s book (har har har) and am going over the books I’ve read over the past several months. My hope is that this will make up for the fact that all this reading has taken away most of the time I usually allocate towards blogging.
Continue reading »
2012 is the year that Calgary is the cultural capital of Canada. Coming up on March 15th is the first of a weekly event that hopes to have artists collaborating along with the public. I had a chance to quickly chat with the organizer of It’s AHHHH Live!, Vi An Diep, and find out a bit more about the event.
“I broke the words down. ‘AHHHH’ is the recognition of the spark of something seeing something, curiosity. ‘Live’ is the aspect of seeing something happening,” says Vi An. “We always know there’s cross-pollination of artists in the city, but they’re in groups. What I’d like to see from this initiative is that all of the arts community will combine their forces and resources to create a scene.”
“I fear that the whole cultural capital thing will be an excuse to spend a whole lot of money on a short amount of time, so it would be nice to see continual access to funds and generate work for artists so that they can consider it a full-time profession.” Vi An hopes that this will be a good way for the public to see the creative process up close, and that this event will create more support and stability for artists so that the city won’t lose artists when the next boom comes to Calgary.
It’s AHHHH Live! will be at the Epcor Centre at 5:30 PM on March 15, 2012. For more details, check out their Facebook page.
For me, the most pure form of ice skating is that done on ponds and lakes – the ice has character, the crisp winter air stings the nostrils, and the surrounding nature a nerve tonic for the world-weary. On a brisk Christmas day, I went out to Lake Louise to enjoy a real ice skating experience.
A light snow was falling on the lake when I arrived, and the parking lot was full of tourists (most of whom have totally lost their fear of motor vehicles). The Fairmont château had a truck cleaning the ice, and they had built a large ice castle in the middle of the cleared ice.
After skating around for a while, there was hot chocolate and sandwiches in the château. Not a bad way to spend a winter afternoon.
Ice skating is allowed as long as the ice is thick enough, so make a trek December through February to ensure you’ll get a chance to skate.